Strabismus in Children

Strabismus refers to any misalignment of the eyes, such as a "crossed" or "wandering" eye. Most children with strabismus are otherwise healthy children, although some have specific neurologic conditions that lead to abnormal eye movements.

Some strabismus can be treated with glasses and/or patching, but many children require surgery to improve the alignment of the eyes. Benefits of strabismus surgery can include an improvement in depth perception, an expansion of visual field, an improved ability to communicate with other people through eye contact, and overall improvement in self esteem.

Strabismus surgery involves changing the way the eye muscles interact with the eye, usually by removing the muscles from the white of the eye, and reattaching them in a different position.

Adult Strabismus

Just like in children, strabismus in adults refers to a misalignment of the eyes.

There are roughly two types of adult strabismus: (1) childhood strabismus that was either untreated or has re-occurred; and (2) strabismus caused by an acquired medical condition. These conditions come in many forms, and can be neurologic (e.g. stroke, nerve palsy), neuromuscular (e.g. myasthenia gravis), orbital (e.g. Grave's disease, orbital tumors), or ophthalmologic (e.g. after cataract or retinal surgery). Adults who have strabismus from other ophthalmologic or neurologic conditions are managed in conjunction with the physician treating the underlying condition.

The problems reported by adults with strabismus, and the benefits of treatment, are often quite different from their pediatric counterparts. Adults who have a new misalignment of the eyes may have double vision, which younger children rarely experience, and loss of depth perception. Many adults with strabismus are very aware of maintaining poor eye contact with others, and would benefit from an improved position of the eyes.

The treatment of adult strabismus may be a combination of prisms, surgery, and treating the underlying condition.

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